With aging facilities and a large tract of open space, Spring Garden Township is considering consolidating its offices to one location.
During a special meeting Wednesday at its 340 Tri Hill Road municipal office, township officials outlined what a possible new complex could look like and what services and amenities it would boast.
While the township has undertaken a feasibility study that includes a schematic design, which was shown to residents during the meeting, township manager Gregory Maust said plans are not set in stone.
But what the site along Mount Rose Avenue near the Interstate 83 interchange could become is a "vibrant place for the community to come together," said Mark Kimmel of Kimmel-Bogrette Architecture + Site, the suburban Philadelphia firm that completed the study.
The land: The 56-acre property, owned by the township since 2000, could serve as the location of a two-story multi-purpose municipal building that would house administrative offices, a police station, community rooms and an indoor track, which could serve as an emergency shelter if needed.
A new fire station could also be situated on the land, Kimmel said.
Recreation areas, such as multi-purpose fields, walking trails and picnic areas, would also be on the property near an existing pond.
The fire station would replace the existing Victory Fire Station at nearby 421 Wheaton St., and that building would be turned into a public works facility, Kimmel said.
But all that would come at a cost, Maust told the crowd of about 75 people.
It is expected to cost between $14.9 million and $16.9 million to complete site and municipal building construction. An added $2.2 million to $2.6 million is needed for the new fire station, and between $2.8 million and $3.8 million would be needed to convert the current fire station to a public works facility, he said.
Some of the cost could be offset by selling the township administrative building.
Grant money for recreation aspects at the complex, as well as income from renting out
community rooms, such as for a wedding reception, could also help cover some of the cost, Kimmel said.
Renovations: A cheaper alternative would be to renovate the Tri Hill Road municipal office at a projected cost of $3.2 million and the administrative office at 558 S. Ogontz St. for an estimated $1.5 million, Maust said.
However, the renovations would be temporary fixes to an ever-increasing problem of buildings aging and space dwindling.
"You've dealt with some of the concerns but not in a long-term way," Maust said. "Quite frankly, we have been putting a lot of Band-Aids on this building."
A new building would also bring together staff currently working out of separate buildings.
Feedback: The plan was met with mixed reaction from residents. Some said it's high time the township improved its recreation offerings, while others voiced concerns of what it would mean to their pocketbooks.
Former township commissioner Dan McGarry said he would like to have seen the complex built years ago.
"This a first-class township with third-class facilities," he said.
George Yelenoc told commissioners the project "paints a picture of grandeur."
"I don't think we need all the bells and whistles," he said.
Attendees were also encouraged to fill out a questionnaire about the plan.
Before construction can start, commissioners must first vote to move forward, said John Fullmer, president commissioner.
He reiterated that the township is nowhere near breaking ground on the project.
"A lot of the questions got into the nuts and bolts of the design, and we're not there yet," Fullmer said.
-- Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.